List of archaeological periods  

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Names for archaeological periods vary enormously from region to region. This is a list of the main divisions by continent and region. Dating also varies considerably and those given are broad approximations across wide areas.

The three-age system has been used in many areas, referring to the prehistory periods identified by tool manufacture and use, of Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age. Since these ages are distinguished by the development of technology, it is natural that the dates to which these refer vary in different parts of the world. In many regions, the term Stone Age is no longer used, as it has been replaced by more specific geological periods. For some regions, there is need for an intermediate Chalcolithic period between the Stone Age and Bronze Age. For cultures where indigenous metal tools were in less widespread use, other classifications, such as the lithic stage, archaic stage and formative stage refer to the development of other types of technology and social organisation.

Historical periods refer to periods of human development after the development of writing. Historical records in whatever form tend to provide more political insight into the dominant nations, and hence allow categorization according to the ruling empires and cultures, such as Hellenistic, Roman, Viking. Inevitably these definitions of periods only relate to the region of that empire or culture.

The Industrial Age or Modern era is generally taken to refer to post-1800. From this time, the industrial revolution which began in Western Europe resulted in global trade as well as global empires.

Archaeological period articles – by Continent and Region

Continents Regions Periods Articles Major Periods
Africa North Africa North Africa Paleolithic</br>

Epipaleolithic</br> Neolithic c. 7500 BC</br> Iron Age</br> Roman

Sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan Africa Earlier Stone Age</br>

Middle Stone Age</br> Later Stone Age</br> Neolithic c. 4000 BC</br> Bronze Age (3500 BC – 600 BC)</br> Iron Age (550 BC – AD 700)</br> Classic Middle Ages (c. 700 – 1700)</br>

Asia Near East Levantine Stone Age (2,000,000 BC – 3300 BC)

Bronze Age (3300 BC – 1200 BC)
Iron Age (1200 BC – 586 BC)
Historical periods (586 BC – present)

South Asia South Asian Periods
East Asia East Asia Periods Neolithic c. 7500 BC Pengtoushan culture
North Asia North Asia Periods
Korea Korean Periods Paleolithic c. 40,000/30,000 BC – c. 8000 BC

Jeulmun pottery period c. 8000 BC – 1500 BC
Mumun pottery period c. 1500 BC – 300 BC
Protohistoric period c. 300 BC – AD 300/400
Three Kingdoms of Korea c. AD 300/400 – 668

Japan Japan Periods Paleolithic c. 100,000 – c. 10,000 BC

Jōmon period c. 10,000 BC – 300 BC
Yayoi period c. 300 BC – AD 250
Yamato period c. AD 250 – 710

Americas North America North America Lithic/Paleo-Indian (pre 8000 BC)</br>

Archaic (c. 8000 – 1000 BC)</br> Post-archaic stage (c. 1000 BC – present)

Mesoamerica Mesoamerica Lithic/Paleo-Indian (pre 8000 BC)</br>

Archaic (c. 8000 – 1000 BC)</br> Formative (c. 1000 BC – AD 250)</br> Classic (AD 250 – 900)</br> Post-Classic (900 – 1515)

South America South America </br> (Peru) Lithic/Paleo-Indian (pre c. 8200 BC) </br>

Archaic (c. 8200 – 1000 BC) </br> Formative (c. 1000 BC – AD 500) </br> Classic (c. AD 500 – 1200) </br> Post-Classic (c. 1200 – 1900)

Australasia Australia Australia
New Zealand New Zealand Archaic period (AD 1000 – 1350/1650) </br>

Classic period (1350 – 1800; 1650 – 1800 in eastern South Island)

Oceania Oceania
Europe Northern Europe Northern Europe Mesolithic </br>

Neolithic </br> Bronze Age </br> Iron Age </br> Roman Iron Age (c. AD 1 – 400) </br> Germanic Iron Age (c. AD 400 – 800) </br> Viking Age (c. AD 800 – 1066) </br> Medieval period (1066 – c. 1500) </br> Post-medieval period (c. 1500 – c. 1800) </br> Industrial/Modern

Western Europe Western Europe Paleolithic (pre c. 8800 BC) </br>

Mesolithic (c. 8800 – 4900 BC) </br> Neolithic (c. 4900 – 2000 BC) </br> Bronze Age (c. 2000 – 800 BC) </br> Iron Age (c. 800 – 1 BC) </br> Roman (c. AD 1 – 400) </br> Early medieval period (c. AD 400 – 800) </br> Medieval period (800 – c. 1500) </br> Post-medieval period (c. 1500 – c. 1800) </br> Industrial/Modern

Southeastern Europe Southeastern Europe Paleolithic </br>

Epipaleolithic </br> Neolithic </br> Chalcolithic </br> Bronze Age </br> Iron Age </br> Hellenistic </br> Roman </br> Byzantine period </br> Ottoman Empire

See also

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